MGK: So it turns out that the people who are putting out Anonymous are also encouraging teachers to run lessons about how Shakespeare did not, in fact, write Shakespeare.
FLAPJACKS: I have no idea what that sentence is about.
MGK: Okay. So, you know Roland Emmerich?
MGK: He has directed a movie called Anonymous, which theorizes that the works of William Shakespeare were in fact written by the Earl of Oxford.
MGK: What do you mean, “and”?
FLAPJACKS: And what blows up?
MGK: Nothing blows up.
FLAPJACKS: That doesn’t sound right. Are you sure the Globe Theatre doesn’t blow up?
MGK: I’m pretty sure, yes.
FLAPJACKS: Oh. So Shakespeare is an alien, then.
FLAPJACKS: Look, you said this was a Roland Emmerich film, so either something blows up or there is aliens. There are rules about this.
MGK: Nothing blows up and there are no aliens.
FLAPJACKS: The Earl of Oxford is an alien, maybe.
MGK: There are no aliens.
FLAPJACKS: Queen Elizabeth?
MGK: No aliens.
FLAPJACKS: Maybe the Tower of London is a spaceship.
MGK: No aliens.
FLAPJACKS: Well, if there’s no aliens and no explosions, why did Emmerich even make this movie?
MGK: Well, he says “I like big ideas. That’s probably what combines Anonymous with my other films. You know, “What if Shakespeare was a fraud?” Or, “What would happen if finally, in one big storm, we get the bill for all the bad things we’ve done to the environment?” Or, “Godzilla comes to New York.” All big ideas, in a way, and you can say them in one sentence.”
FLAPJACKS: How is “Godzilla comes to New York” a big idea? Godzilla goes to cities and smashes them up. It’s basically the whole point of Godzilla. Godzilla movies are not about him having a nice dinner at a restaurant with Mothra and discussing their midlife crises.
MGK: I think, given the other examples in the sentence, you have to understand that a big idea for Roland Emmerich is not quite what we would call “a big idea” for other people.
FLAPJACKS: “Hey, guys, I just had this big idea! What if an asteroid hit the Earth? No, wait, I got a hundred of these! What if the Titanic sank? I can’t believe nobody’s thought of this yet!”
MGK: Yes. This is the sort of finely tuned mind that decides that a conspiracy about William Shakespeare is a big idea.
FLAPJACKS: Still, is it not worth considering whether Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare?
FLAPJACKS: Well, maybe we should look at the pros and cons. For a start: his name is William Shakespeare. That seems like a “pro” to me right there.
MGK: That is indeed an excellent point.
FLAPJACKS: But perhaps we should consider the fact that he was, after all, only some lowly schlub and not an educated nobleman of class and leisure. I mean, how could a mere actor know of the existence of far-off countries like Italy and Denmark? It’s not like they had Wikipedia back then.
MGK: I believe they did, however, have books. Also, on occasion, they had foreigners.
FLAPJACKS: Mere trifles. Also, he wrote about aristocrats a lot, so therefore one could credibly argue that William Shakespeare’s plays were therefore written by a noble, because who knows more about nobles than other nobles?
MGK: The problem with this argument is that it therefore logically follows that Snooki from Jersey Shore wrote her own book, rather than having it ghostwritten.
FLAPJACKS: An excellent counter-argument, particularly given Snooki’s emergent status as “next Shakespeare.” Or, should we say, next Earl of Oxford.
MGK: I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.
FLAPJACKS: Me as well! But that’s not important: what’s important is the undeniable fact that Shakespeare was just a common-as-dirt plebe, and that five hundred years after his death, we can no longer find his original manuscripts proving that he was the writer, so therefore clearly it was a nobleman.
MGK: Yes, you have summed up the “Shakespeare didn’t write Shakespeare” argument quite neatly. By which, of course, I mean you have demonstrated that it’s really just a bunch of classist garbage spun forth by people who don’t want to admit, for whatever reason, that the greatest writer in the English language was basically just some nobody.
FLAPJACKS: Well, we do have to have standards. I mean, we can’t all be Snooki.
MGK: Throwing up in my mouth again.
FLAPJACKS: Yeah, me too.